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FIA Launches Entry-Level Electric Racing Platform

FIA ESV revealed as entry-level platform for production-based electric racing…

Image: FIA

The FIA has announced the blueprint for a new “affordable, entry-level” electric racing platform that is targeted for national and regional level competitions.

FIA ESV, which stands for Electric Sport Vehicles, is designed to evoke the spirit of Group N as a versatile ruleset on which the same car can be used for different purposes such as circuit racing, hill climb and time attack.

The regulations are designed for FIA member clubs to encourage the growth of more sustainable motorsport at the grassroots level.

Vehicles built to the FIA ESV regulations can be GTs or four-door sports sedan coupes with either rear or four-wheel-drive power, but they must be derived from a production model.

A production car is eligible if at least 300 units are built over the first two years of its road-legal homologation.

FIA ESV will have a minimum power output of 300 kW and a maximum chassis height of 1460 mm, while a safety light system will be compulsory like in hybrid LMH and LMDh cars.

The potential for a wide variety of ESV vehicles has prompted the FIA to implement its ‘Performance Factor’ methodology which has been used in hill climb racing since 2020 as a way of bringing as many cars into one category as possible.

“As the governing body of world motorsport, our responsibility is also to ensure that our knowledge and expertise are available to our member clubs as well as local organizers and promoters,” said Marek Nawarecki, FIA Director of Circuit Sport.

“Therefore, having a set of technical regulations applicable to different disciplines and formats, as well as to different sporting levels, is key to fulfilling this role.

“The FIA ESV revives the spirit of Group N, where a car purchased at a dealership, fitted with all the necessary safety equipment, was essentially competition-ready and suitable for various disciplines and formats.”

A date for the on-track debut of the FIA ESV regulations has not been set.

Two years ago the international motorsport body revealed technical details for the proposed international FIA Electric GT Championship, which was due to take place this year but hasn’t yet materialized despite some manufacturers expressing initial interest.

Rather than being a standalone series, FIA ESV is a set of regulations designed to be applied in different places.

It resembles what Audi Sport’s head of customer racing Chris Reinke referenced last year when he told Sportscar365 about the German manufacturer’s interest in the SRO Motorsports Group GTX World Tour for electric cars.

At the time, Reinke expressed hope that SRO would adopt a new FIA-driven ruleset that has now emerged as FIA ESV.

The GTX World Tour, which is billed as a city-to-city road tour with competitions such as circuit races and hill climbs, was not mentioned in Friday’s FIA ESV launch.

Lutz Leif Linden, President of the FIA GT Commission, hopes that manufacturers will make their electric cars FIA ESV compliant to generate customer racing business.

“The FIA ESV ruleset very much responds to the demands of the market,” he said.

“Having this set of technical regulations will allow the manufacturers’ customer racing departments to offer competition-ready variants of their electric cars, which should be a considerable source of revenue of them, much like GT3 is.

“It can even open the door for them to create their own one-make series. The fact that the regulations are inclusive and accommodate four-door cars reflects the latest trends on the road car market.

“We already see several manufacturers having sporty four-door grand coupes in their lineups.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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